Black Sea Region of Turkey History
The Black Sea is an inland sea bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean Sea region of the Mediterranean. These waters separate eastern Europe and western Asia. The Black Sea also connects to the Sea of Azov by the Strait of Kerch. The Black Sea was a busy waterway on the crossroads of the ancient world with the Balkans to the West, the Eurasian steppes to the north, Caucasus and Central Asia to the East, Asia Minor and Mesopotamia to the south, and Greece to the south-west. The oldest processed gold in the world, arguably left by Old Europeans, was found in Varna, Bulgaria and the Black Sea was supposedly sailed by the Argonauts. The land at the eastern end of the Black Sea, Colchis - (now Georgia), marked the edge of the known world to the Greeks. The steppes to the north of the Black Sea have been suggested as the original homeland (Urheimat) of the speakers of the Proto-Indo-European language which was the progenitor of the Indo-European language family. Numerous ancient ports line the coast of the Black Sea with some being older than the pyramids.The Black Sea was a significant naval operations theatre of World War I and saw both naval and land battles during World War II.
Black Sea Region of Turkey Holiday
The Black Sea region of Turkey is often overlooked in favor of destinations along the Mediterranean and Aegean coastlines on the southern and eastern shores of Turkey. The volume of tourism to these regions has made Turkey one of the top holiday tourist destinations in the world. Many of these visitors to the Aegean and Mediterranean holiday tourist resorts can be heard voicing discontent during the months of July and August about the heat. The temperatures during these months can at times be oppressive giving credence to these tourist claims - especially when these tourists have arrived from much cooler European climates. As tourism continues to develop in Turkey there will soon be a greater number taking their holiday in the Black Sea tourist resorts where temperatures are far more bearable and yet still idyllic for spending time at the abundant pristine beaches all along the Black Sea coastline. The Black Sea region also offers seasoned holiday tourists an opportunity to experience a distinctly different facet of Turkish culture. The cuisine is a good example of the unique character and culture of the people of the Black Sea due to the regions different migratory and geographical influences.
Airports in the Black Sea Region
Check the Flight Network for low airfares to Istanbul. Most arriving from outside of Turkey as visitors to the Black Sea region are most likely to arrive in Istanbul. There are flights out of Istanbul to Black Sea regional airports such as Samsun-Çarşamba Airport (SZF), Trabzon Airport (TZX), Amasya Merzifon Airport (MZH), Sinop Airport (SIC) and Zonguldak Airport (ONQ). And of course there are domestic flights to Esenboğa International Airport in Ankara where train and bus service to the Black Sea is available. Inner Black Sea regional city airports like Tokat Airport in Tokat are serviced by Turkish Airlines. But, the best and easiest way to experience the Black Sea region is to travel from Istanbul via bus. The Turkish bus system puts most western countries to shame with ease of use, frequent scheduling, cost efficientcy and the excellent quality of their buses. Top companies like Varan and Ulusoy have buses that are more like first-class airline travel with onboard stewards, refreshments, movies with stereo headphones and abundant rest stops at clean locations with restaurants and toilet facilities. With the frequency of scheduled bus service to the region it is very convenient means of transportation that allows you the ease of sitting back in your seat and seeing scenery and vistas that would be missed by taking a flight or keeping your eyes on the road to insure a safe arrival to your destination in a rental car.
Christ's Cross at Balatlar Church in Sinop?
An archaeologist overseeing an archaeology dig at the Balatlar Church in the Turkish province of Sinop says their team has discovered a 1,350-year-old stone chest containing a piece of a cross which she believes may have possibly come from the same cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified.
"We have found a holy thing in a chest. It is a piece of a cross, and we think it was part of the cross on which Jesus was crucified," Gülgün Köroğlu, head of the archaeological excavation project, told reporters.
"This stone chest is very important to us. It has a history and is the most important artifact we have unearthed so far."
The Balatlar Church was built back in 660AD by the Byzantians as a rectangular basilica. The walls on its west and east have crumbled but the north and south walls are in a bit better condition. The method of construction of the walls used was four courses of stone and four courses of brick. It is an excellent example of the craftsmanship used during the period in stone and brick. There are frescoes on the remaining walls that depicted Jesus, Mary and the Apostles which are becoming damaged as a result of being exposed to the open air. The church, which covers an area of 3062 square meters, was initially thought to be the remains of a Roman era bath. In 2000, the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism opened it to public after the church was restored.
The stone chest in question unearthed at Balatlar Church is believed to have belonged to "a holy person" who could have used the chest to hold relics for veneration, NBC News reported.
Köroğlu, an art historian and archaeologist from Mimar Sinan University of Fine Arts in Sinop, Turkey, displayed the item in a briefing session with reporters in late July 2013. The stone chest, or at least a fragment of it, was small enough to be held in one hand, and had cross symbols carved on its sides. The mayor and the local police chief of Sinop were also present at the briefing with the reporters.
"The excavation of Balatlar Church has been going on since 2009 and this stone is the most important artifact we have found so far. We have also found a number of human bones during our excavation," Köroğlu explained - adding that an ancient Roman bath had also been found at the site.
No concrete reasons were stated as to why Koroglu believed the piece of wood found at the excavation site might be linked to Christ's crucifixion.
NBC News reported on the legend of St. Helen, the mother of Emperor Constantine - who ruled from 306-337, claiming to have discovered Jesus' cross in Jerusalem. As the tradition goes, she handed out bits of the wood to church leaders in Jerusalem, Rome and Constantinople. These pieces apparently became so pervasive throughout the Roman Empire that 4th century theologian St. Cyril of Jerusalem suggested that the world "has been filled with pieces of the wood of the cross."
Köroğlu said she hoped her team's efforts this year would be fruitful. She suggested that the area along the Black Sea could very well grow in popularity with visitors. The excavation project at Balatlar Church was being supported by a European Union-funded Field Management Project.